February 23, 2009

Empowering the poor

In a blog post with the sarcastic title Participation of the poor in mainstreaming gender empowerment for civil society stakeholders to promote country ownership of good governance for community-driven sustainable development, William Easterly finds parallels between the empty rethorics of some current development literature, which is very similar to that of Resilience Science/Ecological Economics and the field of public health, and the language of British colonialism. In old and new literature alike, writers pay lip service to the idea of "empowering" the poor.

Easterly then writes:
One word that is extremely unpopular in aid documents but has great historical resonance on “power to the people” is “liberty.” Neither the 347 page World Bank 1998 “Participation Sourcebook” nor the 372-page World Bank 2006 “Empowerment in Practice” ever mentioned the word “liberty.” The poor cannot have liberty, but they can have lots of empowerment and participation and ownership and civil society.

1 comment:

  1. I completly agree. There is a very good book from Galbraith called the "Affluent Society" (Sociedad Opulenta) which reflect wellwhat you refer.